Meet the Coopers: 5 Things to Know About the Band Skillet's Touring Family
Skillet front man John Cooper and his guitar-playing wife Korey live their nights as rock stars on stage – but they still wake up to their kids wanting breakfast in the morning.
The couple has been touring with their children – Alexandra, 13, and Xavier, 11 – ever since they were born, making for a much tamer life on the road than most rock bands.
“It makes the whole band feel like a family – everybody’s kinda gotta keep themselves in check when you’re traveling with kids,” John tells PEOPLE. “Getting the kids up early and all of that is not conducive for bands who stay up until 5 a.m. playing video games.”
The Christian rock band released their tenth album, Unleashed, on Friday, which means a whole lot more touring for the family of four.
So what’s it like to go on tour with kids in tow? John and Korey tell PEOPLE all about it.
1. It has its perks.
For John and Korey, touring with their kids is all about giving them as many unforgettable experiences as possible.
“They’ve been to Europe four times with us now,” John said of their kids. “We’ve seen the Eiffel Tower and we’ve gone to Prague and we’ve seen cathedrals all over Europe.”
Although rock star parents typically have to leave their kids at home when they go on long tours, John and Korey don’t have that option since they’re both in the band. That means Alex and Xavier are on Skillet’s tour bus just like their parents for every show, which makes for a very close family.
“The beautiful thing is that we get to be the biggest influence in their lives and we don’t have to leave them at home,” the lead singer says about life on the road.
2. But also its challenges.
Being a traveling family still has its challenges – like making sure the kids are getting to experience the normal things in life.
“As parents, you want not only the normal experiences that a kid has, you also want to make sure socially there’s interaction,” Korey said. “They obviously can’t be involved in sports and clubs and those kind of things, so you just wanna make sure that your kids are interacting socially and growing and maturing like normal kids do.”
3. The road offers an excellent education.
To make sure their kids are getting those experiences, John and Korey have them enrolled in a K12 virtual academy run through the state of Wisconsin. It’s a fully functioning school that operates completely online and lets students set their own pace and schedule, something the Coopers need.
“If we play Thursday through Sunday and Monday is our day off, then that’s their weekend,” Korey said.
But they still get a lot of concerned questions from musicians who want to have kids about what it’s like raising them in a non-traditional setting.
“One of the things we tell other people that ask us is that just the life experience of being on the road and meeting all kinds of different people, having to learn how to communicate with literally people all over the world, the kind of street smart value of that alone makes the kids turn out very smart,” John said. “And then on top of that, the school program that they do, they have such personal attention that our kids are just extremely intelligent on both levels.”
4. Every day is an adventure.
Since their life is filled with the craziness of living on a tour bus and playing shows multiple days a week, every day is an adventure for the Cooper family – even if it’s not always a fun one.
“If the bus breaks down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and it’s a hundred degree outside and we have to go outside and get the grill out and grill burgers on the side of the road, it’s an adventure,” John explained. “Doesn’t mean it’s fun, but every day is so crazy that when we have days off we just do extremely normal things.”
5. Quality family time – and appreciating the little things – is the best part.
The greatest time for the rock star husband and wife is still spending family time together on the road.
The Coopers love to take walks, in which Korey said their daughter Alex is “chatty like her dad” and their son Xavier tells them every fact he knows about his current obsession, earning him the title of the Sheldon Cooper of the family.
Another treat for their kids is getting to eat hotel breakfast on their days off since the bus doesn’t have to leave for their next stop.
“My kids love going into a hotel for breakfast, to them it’s like Disney World,” John said about their kids appreciating the small things in life. “They’re like, ‘It’s an off day, we get to go in for breakfast!’ It’s very normal stuff is the most fun things we do.”
Pick up Skillet’s new album and click here to find an upcoming show near you.